Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP" Performance Sparked 1,000+ Complaints

And now, a month after the duo's Grammys performance, Cardi B's responding to the outrage over her so-called "pornographic" show.

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One of the highlights of last month's Grammy Awards was Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's performance of "WAP". The pair served up a colorful, TLC-inspired live duet of their sex-positive summer hit, complete with a bevy of dancers, a giant platform stiletto, and enormous graphics galore.

Not everyone would agree that the rappers' show was such a stand-out success, though. In the immediate aftermath of the steamy performance, reports popped up noting that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had received around 80 complaints calling out the suggestive nature of the duo's performance specifically.

Now, a month after the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, Rolling Stone reports that number was actually much higher — to the tune of more than 1,000 complaints — from viewers who were apparently displeased with the "display of pornography" and "pure objectification of women at its finest." (

Upon hearing about the numerous complaints, Cardi took to Twitter to retweet some of the messages the FCC received on account of her performance, including those threatening lawsuits and reports of people crying themselves to sleep. And in true Cardi fashion, she shut them all down flawlessly. The rapper-slash-actress-slash-fashion-designer shared a GIF of Wendy Williams smiling along with an eye roll emoji and three laughing emojis for good measure, making it clear (or so you can assume) that she's not losing any sleep over this.

All jokes aside though, both Cardi and Megan have been subject to similar backlash since the beginnings of their respective careers, and "WAP" has been the subject of controversy ever since its release last August. Critics have called out their song's sexually charged lyrics, music video, and now live performance, claiming that the messages and visuals are somehow harming children.

The problem with these criticisms is multi-layered — something that Cardi herself has pointed out numerous times since the song's release. Back in January before she took the Grammys stage, Cardi responded to a tweet in which someone wondered why she doesn't let her 2-year-old daughter, Kulture, listen to the song but "everybody else's daughter can?"

"I don't make music for kids," replied Cardi. "I make music for adults. Parents are responsible on what [sic] their children listen too [sic] or see. I'm a very sexual person but not around my child just like every other parent should be."

Such complaints are essentially slut-shaming under the guise of parenting. Some people have argued that the criticisms of Megan and Cardi expressing their sexuality in their lyrics, videos, and shows are rooted in misogynoir, the intersection of racism and sexism that Black women face. Black women artists are often held to a different standard than their non-Black counterparts. (Case in point: Dua Lipa wore a similar outfit in her Grammys performance, but did not make headlines because of complaints from viewers.)

Rolling Stone points out that the FCC received around 47 pages of angry complaints against Beyoncé's 2016 Super Bowl halftime performance. And of course few will forget the number of complaints lodged against Janet Jackson, specifically, for the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show in which Justin Timberlake ripped off a piece of her costume, revealing her breast. Timberlake went on to have a thriving career and even returned to headline his own halftime show in 2018. Meanwhile, Jackson's career suffered and has arguably never been the same since the incident.

Criticizing female artists of color for expressing their sexuality through their lyrics, videos, and live performances strips them of their agency — as if music and art haven't always been an outlet for artists and, in turn, their fans to express themselves freely.

TL;DR — Cardi said it best in an interview with i-D last August, "I always encourage people to be confident, especially when it comes to your sexuality. Some of these men are uncomfortable, they're not even comfortable being sensual...Just embrace it. Don't be scared about it."

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